There is a constant struggle with finding employment for military spouses. Honestly, that struggle was my biggest fear as I entered the lifestyle. I had a secure job that I absolutely loved, but when my husband received orders to move to another location, I was practically forced out of it because my employer wanted to keep someone in-house. Sounds familiar, right?
At the same time as planning a PCS, I was job hunting and re-evaluating my career path altogether.
I found that lack of consistency seemed to be the classic issue for military spouses. Jobs are difficult to maintain because of the transient lifestyle. National Military Family Association reports that 85% of military spouses either want or need work. To me, that’s a pretty high percentage.
Lucky for us, there is an arsenal full of programs to help ease the job hunt. Researching and utilizing the different programs have helped me understand the job marketplace that’s available to us. So, why not give them a try for your next job hunt?
Here are 10 different programs aimed to help military spouses find the perfect job:
- Military Spouse Employment Partnership (MSEP): This career portal matches military spouses to appropriate jobs for them. Employers partner with this program, so they already know that you’re a military spouse. Therefore, the job will most likely be one that you can take with you or is friendly to moving with more than one job site. The partnership also provides career advice and education for those that seek it.
- Spouse Education & Career Opportunities (SECO): SECO helps military spouses set the career stage meaning it provides guidance and resources to help with mapping out the right career plan for us. If you feel like you need a change of pace or are in a job rut, this program might be something to consider. A counselor can give you the right tools needed to evaluate a career transition.
- Veterans Career Transition Program (VCTP): Don’t let the name fool you. VCTP also serves military spouses. The program, run by the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, offers free online courses educating and training students by giving them what they need once they enter the workforce.
- Military Spouse eMentor Program: I’ve found that networking is a particularly powerful practice for military spouses because it gives us the opportunity to express our passion directly to potential employers. The Military Spouse eMentor Program is apart of the Hiring Our Heroes, a nationwide incentive to help veterans and military spouses find fulfilling employment. It allows us to connect with a registered mentor that’s eager to assist with anything and everything career-related. As you continue your search, your mentor could point you in the right direction to a serious job opportunity.
- Career Spark: Also apart of the Hiring Our Heroes incentive, Career Spark is an organization created by military spouses for military spouses. The program helps build and tailor the ideal resume for you and gets you ready for the workforce by offering tips and advice.
- Military Spouse Corporate Career Network (MSCCN): This nonprofit organization offers employment readiness programs and job placement solutions for military spouses. They also provide great live training sessions online that are all designed to make you competitive in the workplace.
- National Military Spouse Network (NMSN): This organization was my gateway to networking with other military spouses. I attended their career summit a couple years ago and I was immediately hooked with the idea of military spouses helping each other with career advice, professional aspirations and mentorship. They also have lots of resources and content available online.
- The Milspo Project: The Milspo Project launched their Embark career conference last year and will be doing the same this year in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Their goal is to raise awareness about the obstacles military spouses face and providing an event environment to empower. Are you near Fayetteville? It’s worth giving their career conference a shot.
- In Gear Career: If it’s not obvious, I’m a huge advocate of military spouse networking. Networking is actually how I landed my job(s). In Gear Career takes networking to the local level by connecting career-minded military spouses together to create meaningful relationships. Don’t see a chapter in your area? They also have a virtual chapter.
- Local Installation Employment Readiness Programs: When I first moved to the Fort Belvoir area, I was excited that they hosted local job fairs via the Employment Readiness Program (ERP) for both recently separated military members and military spouses. It’s a great resource that’s local to your installation that can assist with locating a job in your area. Keep a very close eye on base or post for events and/or opportunities.